Flip through any wedding magazine and you’ll find a whole lot of visually appealing things. Dresses, bouquets, table arrangements and decor ideas. The wedding industry is great at suggesting things that make our weddings look incredible and Pinterest-worthy. Oddly enough, there is very little information about how to make sure your guests have fun at your wedding. When planning any other party, the number one question we ask is “What can we do that will be really fun?”.
How exactly do we make weddings fun? Well that is the million dollar question and there are many great answers. So, I’ve gathered a few suggestions that will help you make your wedding fun!
Make sure people know what to expect
Weather-wise, will your venue be freezing at night even though it’s super warm during the day? Give your guests enough warning so that they bring along a jacket. Will they be spending most of their time on the lawn or some other kind of potentially uncomfortable terrain? Let them know so that they plan their footwear accordingly.
Do you want people to help with the breakdown of the decor afterwards? Anyone who loves you – which will hopefully be everyone at the wedding – will be more than happy to help, but letting them know beforehand will increase their desire to help. Springing it on your guests who are already planning on heading home for a bubble bath probably isn’t the best idea. The same goes for your bridal party and family. You may be the “I just want you to be at our wedding as a guest” type, or the “There will be a lot to do afterwards” type, but regardless, let them know!
Feed them and do it on time
The number one wedding rule is this: don’t let your guests go hungry. Does this mean you need to give everyone a full meal? Nope. You only need to serve one if guests are expecting one. If your reception is from 2pm-5pm, guests probably won’t expect a meal and they will probably plan on eating beforehand and afterwards. So, serving cocktail style snacks is perfectly appropriate. You can have a reception at any other time of day, but you need to let your guests know what to expect. “Please join us for appetizers and cocktails from 5pm – 8pm” or “Dessert reception to follow” or “Cake and tea after the ceremony” are all perfectly acceptable ways of letting guests know not to expect a full meal and to plan accordingly.
The opposite side of this is that if your reception is at 4pm and your invitation says “Reception to follow”, your guests will expect a meal and you should give them one. It doesn’t have to be fancy at all (Who doesn’t love burgers and pizza? No-one I want to party with.) but it does have to be filling.
How do you make it fun?
This all really boils down to you and your guests. The drinks and dancing type of wedding is some people’s idea of a nightmare and other people’s idea of their best night ever. The intimate dinner party and board games type works for some and is boring to others. If I had to name my top ten favourite weddings I’ve been to, both would be on the list, and the rest would fall somewhere into the large gap between the two. But the thing that all my favourite weddings had in common was that they were authentic to the couple and to the largest chunk of their guests. Not the dancing types? The chances are, neither are most of your friends, so go ahead and skip the loud music. Totally the dancing types? Bring it on and leave the board games behind.
As with most things, knowing your crowd is the key to creating a fun environment. But what happens when you have different groups of friends who all love different things? Or your family takes up a large part of your guest list and they aren’t really into the things you are into?
Get people emotionally invested
This is the secret: people most enjoy a wedding when they are emotionally invested in the couple getting married. A meaningful ceremony that has guests saying “Flip, I love this couple!” is sometimes all it takes. It can also happen at a wedding reception after the ceremony. The trick is that this isn’t just another party, it’s a celebration of the start of your marriage. You don’t need a tiered wedding cake, a white wedding dress, or a sit down meal. You just need the focus to be on you and the start of your marriage. Having beautiful toasts is another great way of bringing this home.
The truth is, people who aren’t going to have fun at your wedding probably won’t do so no matter what you do. You could have three live bands, board games and a private room for chatting, and there will still be that person who goes home early. That’s alright, because you really can’t please everyone. Put together a group of more than six people and someone is going to think the given idea isn’t a great one. Painfully shy cousin? Socially inappropriate college friend? High energy sibling? Kind of awkward best friend? Let’s face it, there isn’t a party in the world that all of them would love equally. But the thing they do love equally is you – so even if they don’t go home saying “That was the best party I’ve ever been to”, they will go home saying “I am so happy to have been able to celebrate the love and marriage of my two special friends”.